In eastern Ukraine, there is intense fighting around the city of Avdiivka, which is the subject of "the primary Russian concentration of forces right now", according to former Lieutenant Colonel Jörgen Elfving.

"The fighting is incredibly intense. There is a figure from November 6 that says that the Russian forces had lost 7,000 men in the last three weeks – killed and wounded, he says.

'Not very significant'

Winter conditions complicate the battles for the city, which has come to play a central role in Russia's attack – despite Elfving describing it as "not particularly significant", purely strategically.

"From a Russian perspective, Avdiivka has a great symbolic significance. They are whipped to achieve some kind of military success and then they invest in Avdiivka, he says.

Could be decisive for the war

For Ukraine, too, control of the city has become an important moral struggle. If Avdiivka falls, it will affect the Ukrainian will to resist, says Jörgen Elfving.

"How will it be perceived in the West and how will it affect the continued supply of materials? If Avdiivka now falls, one can think in terms of whether it is worth continuing to support Ukraine or should we ensure that there is a negotiated solution?" he asks.

Lost almost 30,000 inhabitants

The battle for Avdiivka is one of the bloodiest since Russia's full-scale invasion in March 2022. The city has been close to the front since 2014, populated in 2022 by just over 31,000 inhabitants.

"Of those, just over 1,300 remain, and I believe that they are mainly elderly people who live in very primitive conditions," says Jörgen Elfving

See what the battles look like in the video.